A dog bite can change a person’s life. It is no secret that Americans love pets, with dogs being a very popular option. Consequently, there are bound to be accidents with dogs. Should this happen, you may wonder if you could legally hold someone responsible for your accident. Our personal injury lawyers in Ellicott City can discuss your legal options with you.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are 76.8 million dogs in the United States. In 2020, dogs were responsible for at least 46 deadly attacks on humans. With so many dogs in the country, there is a high risk of dog-related injuries.
Generally, dog owners are responsible for any injuries caused by their dogs. However, there are different laws regarding how much responsibility a dog owner bears based on the state. In determining who is liable for a dog bite, one party that is rarely considered is the landlord. The assumption is usually that only the dog’s owner is liable.
However, a landlord can be responsible for the injuries caused by a tenant’s dog. This article explains the situations in which landlords can be held responsible for a dog’s bite.
When Is a Landlord Liable for a Dog Bite?
There are three major ways landlords could be involved in such matters. The first is if they own the dog in question. The second is if they allow the dog onto their premises. Finally, if they were aware of any danger posed by the dog yet allowed it to remain. We would start with the first scenario.
If a landlord is the dog owner, they may be held liable if the dog bites anyone. However, the exact rule could vary depending on the state. In some states, the owner is fully responsible for any injuries caused by their dog regardless of the circumstances.
In some other states, however, the landlord may be left off the hook if there is no evidence that they were aware of any danger posed by their dog. For example, Maryland is one of sixteen states that operate with the one-bite rule. This means that the dog’s owner is at fault for injuries caused by the dog if they were aware that it had aggressive tendencies.
If a landlord allows a dog onto their premises, they are liable for any injury it may cause. In this case, it does not matter whether they were aware of any aggressive tendencies in the dog. For example, while the landlord may not own a dog, one or more tenants could own one.
Therefore, should a tenant’s dog bite anyone, the landlord may be held liable for it. Thus, landlords must decide if they want their tenants to keep dogs while renting their properties. However, this scenario rarely happens.
Another way landlords could be liable is if they were aware of any danger posed by the dog yet allowed it to remain. Again, using the example above, a landlord may be held liable for injuries inflicted by a dog if they had the legal power to remove the dog but did not while knowing of its aggressive inclinations.
In addition, a landlord could be held responsible for injuries inflicted by a dog if they cared for or exercised some control over the dog. In such a case, whether the landlord knew that the dog was aggressive or not becomes immaterial. Such situations are why landlords often have strict rules regarding the keeping of dogs.
Besides these common scenarios, a landlord could be liable if a defect on the property allowed the dog to escape. For example, if the landlord was aware that there was a broken gate or fence but did nothing about it, they could be held liable for any injuries caused by the dog.
Get Help From a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ellicott City Today!
Dogs have often been hailed as great companions for humans. However, they would occasionally get aggressive. When that happens, it is important to know how to protect yourself. This is what we help you with at Pinder Plotkin LLC.
Our experienced Ellicott City personal injury lawyers are always available to help you get compensation if you have been bitten by a dog. This would include helping you gather evidence and representing you throughout the compensation claims process. However, dog bites are different from any other injury and require different tactics when dealing with them.
Therefore, only experts must be involved. Contact us today for a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis and demand no upfront fees.